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. dancing. The whole caste is extremely fond of dancing, and in
Panguni (March- April) both men and women keep it up to all



THE PEOPLE. 105

hours, going- round and round with great energy to the sound of CHAP. ID.
a drum. Pulaiyans eat beef and pork and even rats. Mr. Turn- Principai
bull's notice of them embodied in Ward's Purvey Account says Castes.
that when any one is attacked with small-pox his friends and
relations all flee and leave him to his fate, and the people of his
village are prohibited from holding intercourse with others until
the epidemic has abated. Much the same thing occurs among the
Malaiy^lis of the Kalrayan hills.

In the fifties of the last century the Society for the Propaga-
tion of the Gospel sent a catechist to work among the Pulaiyans.
The work languished afterwards, but has now been revived by
the American Mission. The catechist's letters in the Madras
Quarterly Missionary Journal for 1850-52 give a few details
about the ways of the caste. They used to assemble for regular
hunting excursions. When any animal was killed, its skin or
some other part of it was sent to the nearest temple so that the
deity might give them more good sport in future. Anyone who
was killed on these occasions was buried in tlie jungle and his
memory treated with much respect. The Pulaiyans were kept
in the greatest subjection by their masters, the Kunnuvans, who
would not let them have a light at night or sleep on a cot, lent
them money at usurious interest and turned them into slaves if
they were unable to pay it back. None the less, the Pulaiyans
were considered indispensable in all cases of sickness, as they
alone knew the j)owers of the medicinal herbs of the hills ; and
also in cases of demoniac possession, as the local devils could only
be propitiated through their intervention. They were clever at
poisoning tigers, and any man who did so was given a new cloth
by public subscription and chaired round the village with dancing
and music.

The Paliyans are a very backward caste who reside in small, Pal^yai".
scattered parties amid the jungles of the Upper Palnis and the
Varushanad valley. They speak Tamil with a peculiar intonation
which renders it scarcely intelligible. They are much less civil-
ized than the Pulaiyans, but do not eat beef and consequently
carry no pollution. They sometimes build themselves grass huts,
but often they live on platforms up trees, in caves, or under
rocks. Their clothes are of the scantiest and dirtiest, and are
sometimes eked out with grass or leaves. They live upon roots
(yams), leaves and honey. They cook the roots by putting them
into a pit in the ground and heaping wood upon them and light-
ing it. The fire is usually kept burning all night as a protection
against wild beasts and it is often the only sign of the presence of
the Paliyans in a jungle, for they are shy folk who avoid other

14



106



MADtJEA.



CHAP. III.

Princip\i.
Castes.



Tdttiyans.



people. They make fire witli quartz and steel, using the floss of
the silk-cotton tree as tinder. Weddings are conducted without
ceremonies, the understanding being that the man shall collect
food and the woman cook it. When one of them dies the rest
leave the bodj as it is and avoid the spot for some months.
Mr. Thurston has published an account^, with illustrations and
measurements, of a settlement of the caste in the Tinnevelly
jungles. There, the dead are buried and a stone is placed over the
grave, which is never visited again.

The only Telugu caste which is characteristic of the district
are the Tottiyans, otherwise known as Kambalattar or Kambalat-
t^r Nayaks. To this community belong nearly all the zamindars.
Most of the men now speak Tamil, but Telugu is commonly used
by the women. The caste title is Nayakkan. The usual occupa-
tion is cultivation. The traditional story of their migration to
this district is jiiven in several of the Mackenzie MSS. and is still
repeated by the people of the caste. Centuries ago, says this
legend, the Tottiyans. lived to the north of the Tungabhadra
river. The Muhammadans there tried to marry their women and
make them eat beef, so one fine night they fled southwards in a
body. The Muhammadans pursued them and their path was
blocked by a deep and rapid river. They had just given them-
selves up for lost when a ponga ( Vongamia glabra) tree on either
side of the stream leant forward and, meeting in the middle, made
a bridge across it. Over this they hurried, and, as soon as they
had passed, the trees stood erect once uiore before the Musalmans
could similarly cross by them. The Tottiyans in consequence
still reverence the pongu tree and their marriage-pandals are
always made from its wood. They travelled on until they
came to the city of Vijayanagar, under whose king they took
service, and it was in the train of the Vijayanagar armies that
they came to Madura, Caste matters used to be settled by the
Mettu Nayakkan, or headman, and the Kodangi Nayakkan, or
priest, so called because he carried a drum. Nowadays they
are generally decided by a public assembly the leaders of which
seat themselves solemnly on a blanket on which it placed a pot
of water containing margosa leaves, an emblem of the presence
of the deity. Persons charged with offences are invited to
prove their innocence by undergoing ordeals. These are now
harmless enough, such as attempting to cook rice in a pot which
has not been fired, but Turnball says that he saw the boiling oil

^ Madras Museurr,, Bulletins, Vol. V, No. 1. Other references are Indian
Antiquary, (1876), v, 60, aad Madras Quarterly Missionary Journal for October
1851.



Castes.



THE PEOPLE. 107

ordeal in 1813 in Piiilukkottai territory. Perhaps the most CHAP. III.
serious caste offeaoe is adalterj with a man of another com- Principal
raiinity". Turnbull sajs that women convicted of this used to be
senten '.ed to he killed by Ghakkiliyaas. but nowadays rigid
excommunication is the penalty.

The caste is divided into eight exogamous septs, which seem
.(the information is incomplf^te) to be totemiatic in origin and
each of which intermarries only with one of the remaininpf
eight. When a girl attains maturity she is kept in a separate
hub which is watched by a Chakkiliyan. Marriage is either
infant or adult. A man has the usual claim to his paternal
aunt's daui:htyr and so rigorously is this rule followed that boys
of tender years are frequently married to grown womon. These
latter are allowed to consort with their husband's near relntions
and the boy is held to be the father of any children which may
be born. Weddings last tliree days and involve very numerous
ceremonies. They take place in a special pandai erected in the
village, on either side of which are smaller pandals for the bride
and bridegroom. Two uncommon rites aro the slaughtering of a
red ram without blemish and marking the foreheads of the couple
with its blood, and the pursuit by the bridegroom, vsdtli a b



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